The CEO of a UK-based energy firm lost the equivalent of $243,000 after falling for a phone scam that implemented artificial intelligence, specifically a deepfake voice.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the CEO of an unnamed UK energy company received a phone call from what sounded like his boss, the CEO of a German parent company, telling him to wire €220,000 (roughly $243,000) to a bank account in Hungary. The target of the scam was convinced that he was speaking with his boss due to a “subtle German accent” and specific “melody” to the man’s voice and wired the money as requested.
According to a representative of Euler Hermes Group SA, the firm’s insurance company, the CEO was targeted by a new kind of scam that used AI-enhanced technology to create an audio deepfake of his employer’s voice. While the technology to generate convincing voice recordings has been available for a few years, its remains relatively uncommon in the commission of fraud.
Security experts worry the exploit could spark a new trend.
“[W]e’re seeing more and more artificial intelligence-based identity fraud than ever before,” said David Thomas, CEO of identity verification company Evident in an article on Threatpost. “Individuals and businesses are just now beginning to understand how important identity verification is. Especially in the new era of deep fakes, it’s no longer just enough to trust a phone call or a video file.”
Read the Wall Street Journal article here (subscription required).